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  (Source: Haloz)
"They build a shiny sparkling thing that attracts users and then they control people's access to those things"

You may recall that top video game maker Valve Corp., makers of the Half-LifeCounterstrikePortal, and Left 4 Dead series, as well as the hit video-game distribution client Steam, recently aired some of its titles on Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) Mac computers for the first time following some teasers.

But while Valve now is vending products for Apple's personal computer platform, it appears like there's little love between the firms.  Valve president and owner Gabe Newell blasted the Cupertino tech giant for its dictatorial approach to the mobile market.

He comments, "I suspect Apple will launch a living room product that redefines people's expectations really strongly and the notion of a separate console platform will disappear.  I'm worried that the things that traditionally have been the source of a lot of innovation are going - there's going to be an attempt to close those off so somebody will say 'I'm tired of competing with Google, I'm tired of competing with Facebook, I'll apply a console model and exclude the competitors I don't like from my world.'"

He continues, commenting that Apple has the "wrong philosophical approach" in its closed model.  

He adds, "I consider Apple to be very closed.  Let's say you have a book business and you are charging 5 to 7 percent gross margins. You can't exist in an Apple world because they want 30 percent and they don't care that you only have 7 percent to play with." 

To be fair, Valve might be being a bit hypocritical here as its Steam is also a closed platform, as the interviewer challenged.  Mr. Newell brushed this question aside, saying that while Steam isn't free, Valve does offer much free engine code and other tools to developers.

David Bluhm, president and chief executive of game company Z2Live, a mobile-focused gamemaker, jumped to Apple's defense after Mr. Newell's remarks, commenting, "I would argue Apple's system is very open but very proprietary ... it's open with their rules."

Source: TechNW: Best and worst of times for games, Valve vs. Apple

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This is strange
By TakinYourPoints on 10/13/2011 5:07:10 PM , Rating: 2
I love Steam, XBox Live, the App Store, and many of the other closed systems out there, and I also love what Gabe and Valve have done for PC gaming. I need to get that out of the way first.

Gabe complaining about closed platforms is like a guy who runs one of the biggest brothels in Bangkok complaining about the sex trade. It's just weird. There are very few complaints he levels against other closed platforms that can't be directly applied towards Steam.

Even if we ignore the fact that Valve games can only be bought on Steam, even for third party games it is a closed system that is based around DRM.

"I consider Apple to be very closed," Newell said. "Let's say you have a book business and you are charging 5 to 7 percent gross margins. You can't exist in an Apple world because they want 30 percent and they don't care that you only have 7 percent to play with."

Doesn't Valve's Steam service also extract a "tax" on game companies that use the platform, Fries asked.

Newell said Steam gets a commission if games are sold through Steam, but developers can use its free tools and services and sell their games elsewhere and "we don't take anything."

Newell deflects this point by inferring that Apple would take a cut of an iOS application if it was sold on another platform, which of course is false. The 70/30 publisher/distributor split is also very standard. Unlike Apple, Valve has never been open about their split with publishers, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was about the same. Saying "we don't take a cut on other platforms" is a slippery way to avoid that question.

There are degrees of open and closed out there. By far the most closed system is XBox Live as it does not allow for cross-platform multiplayer. There are also many anecdotes from independent developers re: their experience dealing with certification from Microsoft (Super Meat Boy devs, etc etc) and how much harder it is than iOS or PS3. The PS3 is much more open in terms of cross-platform multiplayer as it is allowed between PC and Mac, and Apple is very open in those terms. There are numerous games that are cross-platform between iOS and Android, and if someone released a game that was crossplatform between PC/Mac and iOS there would also be no problem. Apple really doesn't care in that regard.

PS3 is more open in that cross-platform multiplayer is allowed between PC/PS3/Mac (much thanks to Valve). Many cross-platform games exist on mobile platforms. Apple isn't at all restrictive about crossplatform gaming between iOS and Android handsets.

The biggest difference between consoles/iDevices and Steam is that Valve doesn't sell hardware. As far as software and policies go, they share way more in common than he's letting on.

Agree or disagree with the sentiment, that's fine, but the message is coming from the wrong person. I personally don't think "closed" is a bad thing, it is has led to very robust and stable platforms. Steam along with Battlenet have pretty much saved PC gaming, and both are very locked down systems based around DRM.

"We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet.  A lot of these people don't have Ph.Ds, and they don't have a degree in computer science." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis

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